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Body surface area determined by whole-body CT scanning: need for new formulae?

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  • Chiara Villa
  • Charlotte Primeau
  • Ulrik Hesse
  • Hans Petter Hougen
  • Niels Lynnerup
  • Birger Hesse
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Calculation of the estimated body surface area (BSA) by body height and weight has been a challenge in the past centuries due to lack of a well-documented gold standard. More recently, available techniques such as 3D laser surface scanning and CT scanning may be expected to quantify the BSA in an easier and more accurate way. This study provides the first comparison between BSA obtained from post-mortem whole-body CT scans and BSA calculated by nine predictive formulae. The sample consisted of 54 male cadavers ranging from 20 to 87 years old. 3D reconstructions were generated from CT scans using Mimics software, and BSA values were automatically extracted from the program. They were compared with nine predictive equations from the literature. Remarkably, close correlations (r > 0·90) were found between BSA values from CT scans and those from the predictive formulae. A mean BSA of the 54 cadavers of 1·84-1·87 m(2) was calculated by all formulae except one, SD values varying between 0·171 and 0·223 m(2) . T-tests revealed significant differences between mean BSA values calculated with CT and three of the formulae. Regression analyses showed intercepts >(0;0) and slopes <1·0 using all predictive equations, with the CT scan determination as gold standard. It is concluded that DuBois and DuBois' equation can be safely used in normal-weight male subjects with high accuracy, but it seems likely that BSA is underestimated in underweight subjects and overestimated in overweight individuals. Creation of new formulae specific for overweight subjects and children may be needed.

Original languageEnglish
JournalClinical Physiology and Functional Imaging
ISSN1475-0961
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 24 Aug 2015

ID: 48231167